In his 1949 Film Noir The Third Man, Carol Reed presents the idea that betrayal of a friend is forgivable in the light of a greater good. Throughout the film it is seen that the requirement of maintaining loyalty and friendship is overridden when morals are tested. The film follows the ignorant journey of Holly Martins as he attempts to discover the mystery behind the death of his ‘dear friend’ Harry Lime. The canted camera angles and shadows allow the audience to identify the trustworthy characters from the corrupt, and Reed’s motif of re-occurring props and non-diagetic zither music establish the moral ambiguity of the films setting and atmosphere. The obligation of betrayal is centrally shown through the protagonist Holly Martins, as his initial ignorant loyalty is presented through Reeds use of canted angles. In the beginning of the film Holly is stubborn, gullible and oblivious to the corrupt setting he has immersed himself in. His innocence is projected through the recurring straight angle on his face, in contrast, suspicious characters such as Harry are given a canted angle suggesting they’re not morally ‘straight’. Holly’s morality and loyalty to Harry is tested in the Ferris wheel scene as he becomes exposed to the true Harry. The scene begins with Holly sitting by the Ferris wheel, appearing dwarfed, hence reiterating his insignificance. The pair enters the carriage and significant camera angles are used on each of their faces to portray to the audience their differing moralities. A straight camera angle is used for Holly, and a tilted for Harry. Holly is exposed to Harry's true nature when he tells him about Anna being arrested and Harry simply says “Tough, very tough” showing that he doesn’t truly care about her. Also Harry draws Anna’s name in child-like scribble on the window of the carriage, reiterating that he isn’t concerned about her fate. A long shot of the carnival is given, Harry points to the people walking on the ground and says to Holly “Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever. Holly, once blind to the truth, is now revealed to Harry’s wrong doings and lack of moral integrity. The shot of the two inside the Ferris wheel makes them appear trapped. Also, this scene is ironic as they’re on a ride for children’s leisure whilst discussing serious criminal activities. As the carriage goes down, Holly gains his realization of what Harry is capable of. This symbolizes him returning to earth as his views on Harry were previously ‘in the clouds’. In a later scene, Holly is exposed to the children sick as a result of Harry’s faulty penicillin. Slow non-diagetic music plays, the children’s face aren’t shown and the teddy bear’s, symbolizing innocence, are lying face down. Seeing this, Holly accepts the role of being Calloway’s “dumb duck decoy”, betraying Harry to save his moral integrity. -distorted sense of loyalty, Come back to this para
http://pages.wustl.edu/files/pages/imce/jdriver/DRIVER_Third_Man.pdf Harry Lime, the antagonist, provides a sharp juxtaposition to Holly’s reasons for betrayal, and his immorality is portrayed through Reeds use of shadows and chiaroscuro. In Harry’s reveal scene, he is initially hidden in shadow. A shot is given of the mysterious mans feet with Anna’s cat nuzzling up to, providing a dramatic irony as the audience know immediately the person is Harry. The camera moves up and Harry’s face emerges from the shadows. He raises his eyebrows, and his expression is confident and arrogant. Reed’s use of shadows as a motif for Harry signifies the audience that he is morally questionable and untrustworthy. At the end of the Ferris wheel scene, Harry presents his cuckoo clock theory to Holly, which ultimately defines his moral view. As displayed in the Ferris wheel scene, Harry has no hesitations in betraying his old friend. He states that he could easily kill Holly right there and then, ‘You don’t think they’d look for a bullet wound after you hit...
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